I find it really helpful when a teacher talks about an application he has used in the classroom along with a detailed description of exactly how he used it and why it was useful. This post from Powerful Learning Practice, again on Evernote, did just that. I also found the post on creating a Student-Centered, Problem-Based Learning classroom really inspiring. I’ve read a lot about letting students help create their own learning process, having the teacher get out of the way, moving the teacher from the position of authority/knowledge-dispenser to motivator/facilitator. I’m trying to figure out exactly how to do that in a high school English classroom. For example, in the Ted talk embedded in the link above, Shelley Wright talks about letting her students get really excited about raising money for a school in Uganda in her science classroom. That sounds really great. However, while she was talking, I wondered when they were “doing” science. Yes, the process was student led, but it didn’t seem to have much to do with her subject? That might be fine, but what if we’re really, really supposed to be reading Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, or something – we can’t just abandon that if the students want to, right, so they can “create their own learning”? What if when they want to create their own learning, it has nothing to do with English, Literature, Language at all?…how do you let students collaborate in their learning process, have a Problem-Based Learning classroom, in which you’re still teaching a difficult subject in which they might not have a lot of experience?
I clearly have a lot of questions. I want to create a student-centered classroom. If anyone has ideas or experience doing this in their own high school English classrooms, I’d love to here from you.